The Importance of WordPress & Plugin Updates

5 years ago  •  By

What are WordPress Updates?

Keep WordPress UpdatedWordPress is the world’s most popular CMS system.  Hundreds of millions of sites run on WordPress, and there is a passionate community of developers around that world that are constantly working on improving WordPress.  Every few months, their accumulated improvements result in a new version that is released to the world.

A new version may include:  new features, bug fixes, improvements and security patches.  This is very similar to Windows updates.

In addition to WordPress Core updates, there are plugin updates too.  One of the strengths of WordPress is its plugin system.  Plugins allow developers around the world to create new functionality that can be ‘plugged in’ to your website. There are thousands of plugins.  A couple of examples are Paypal integration, event calendars, and slider controls.  Each of these is also frequently updated by their respective developers, adding features or improvements, fixing bugs and security issues.

Are they important?

Individually any given update is usually not critical.  However if you never update your website it won’t take long before the WordPress core and all your plugins are many versions old, and you could have a large number of known security vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched by updates.  At this point you have a large surface are for attack.

Hackers target known vulnerabilities and write bots that search the internet looking for sites that they can exploit.  Keeping your site patched goes a very long way towards preventing your site from being hacked.

Do hackers just target WordPress?  No, hackers look for exploits in any and all popular software.  WordPress is obviously very popular, but all major Content Management Systems (CMS) have the same problem, and are also constantly releasing security patches.

protect your wordpress website

So how do I update WordPress?

At the top of your WordPress dashboard, it will display the number of updates available.   Updating WordPress is as simple as clicking this and then running the updates.  However before you go ahead and do this consider the below.

What can go wrong?

Normally WordPress updates work without a hitch.  Sometimes however there are problems.  Potentially if the update fails partway through, the site could break.  The more common problem though is conflicts and incompatibilities.  Because both WordPress and plugins are developed separately by different programmers around the world, occasionally updates in WordPress or a plugin may inadvertently break functionality in areas of your site.  For this reason it’s extremely important to backup your site before running updates, and check for problems afterwards.

If there are issues, then the site may need to be restored from backup, or in most cases, your web developer (iCreate) can resolve the problems.

Let iCreate take care of it for you.

iCreate offers an optional ‘Website Maintenance and Security Service’ for our web customers.  As part of the service we:
icreate solutions

  • Setup a rolling backup scheduled to our cloud storage.
  • Install and configure a security plugin hardening your WordPress Install.
  • Visit your site once a quarter, backup, run all updates and check for issues, fixing any update issues we find. (or rolling back from backup if necessary)
  • If your site is hacked.  We’ll fix it for no charge.

Please contact iCreate to enquire about this service, and keep your site safe. Call us on 07 3157 1108 or contact us.

As a signup bonus we’ll also do 1 hour of performance optimisation on your website for free.   Performance optimisation is the process of improving website speed, through various techniques.

Article by: 21/11/2014

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